'Suing vaccine refusers not a simple proposition'

Refusal to vaccinate children who have infected other children with measles requires long line of evidence difficult to present to court.

Shimon Cohen,

Vaccination
Vaccination
Flash 90

The issue of penalizing parents who send their children to educational institutions unvaccinated against measles raises considerable ethical questions, but also legal questions. Can such parents be sued? Arutz Sheva posed this question to attorney Julia Shenkar, an expert on tort law.

Attorney Shenkar says such a claim, even if possible, is very complicated since it depends on a number of circumstantial factors that are difficult to prove. "It's possible to sue if it's possible to prove damage was done.

"In my opinion, one can try to sue parents whose children have not been vaccinated and infected other children, but this type of claim is a serious one, because there's a lot to prove. Among other things, it's necessary to prove a causal link between the outbreak of the disease and that child's non-vaccination, and whether that child infected others or not."

This means a claim can only come after children have been infected, and then it will be necessary to prove the infection indeed came from the unvaccinated child following the parent's refusal. "It's necessary to prove parental guilt and the connection between the refusal and the child's vaccination. These things aren't simple because at this time there's no obligation under law to vaccinate, so it's as if we're trying to drink from a broken trough on this issue.

"I do not see any possibility of suing for damages," Shankar concludes, noting that it is up to the legislature that as long as parents do not have to vaccinate, it is impossible to rely on legislation to sue those who did not. Here comes the ethical issue and the difficulty in granting medical treatment to those who are not interested in it. An issue that is still being discussed in the legal, ethical, and medical arena of Israel and the entire Western world."




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